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Transfer Student Directed Self-Placement

At the University of Michigan, you will take a variety of courses in your major that require a substantial amount of writing as well as a familiarity with the types of writing valued in your major. This Transfer Directed Self-Placement (DSP) for Writing is not a test.  Rather, the Transfer DSP for Writing is designed to give you insight into the kind of writing expected of upper-division undergraduates at the University of Michigan, in order to help you judge your own readiness for and comfort with the College of LSA’s Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

You will make the decision about the writing courses you take, but this Transfer DSP will assist you in that decision, along with input from the Sweetland Center for Writing and your Academic Advisor. The Sweetland Center for Writing offers a range of courses that support transfer student writing, including Writing 350 and three courses specifically for international and multilingual students,Writing 119Writing 240, and Writing 340.

You will receive an email from the Sweetland Center for Writing inviting you to schedule an appointment to receive feedback on your Transfer DSP responses and advice on writing at U-M.

During the Transfer DSP, you will complete the following tasks:

  • Choose the area you plan to study (Humanities, Natural Sciences, or Social Sciences).
  • Read (i) a typical upper-level assignment in the general area you chose, and (ii) a student paper in response to that assignment.
  • Write three short responses (6-10 sentences each) about the assignment and the student paper that you read.
  • Answer 11 follow-up multiple choice questions about your writing experiences.

The Transfer DSP is not timed. If you choose to exit, your work will be saved and you may continue at a later date.

IMPORTANT: You must submit your responses at least 5 BUSINESS DAYS (Monday through Friday) prior to the start of your orientation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should take a Directed Self-Placement (DSP)?

  • First-year students in LSA, Art & Design, Kinesiology, Music, and Nursing are required to complete the First-Year DSP.
  • First-year students in LSA Honors and Engineering are exempt from the First-Year DSP.
  • Transfer students who have not completed a Sweetland-approved First-Year Writing Requirement course at their previous college or university are required to complete the First-Year DSP.
  • Transfer students who have completed a Sweetland-approved First-Year Writing Requirement course at their previous college or university are required to complete the Transfer DSP.

How do I know if a writing course I took at a previous institution will fulfill the First-Year Writing Requirement?
In some cases, writing courses taken at other colleges or universities can be used to fulfill the University of Michigan’s First-Year Writing Requirement. Please refer to the Transfer Courses page for more information.

Which DSP should I take (the First-Year DSP or the Transfer Student DSP)?
You should take the First-Year DSP if you have not yet fulfilled the First-Year Writing Requirement. You should take the Transfer DSP (this page) if you have already taken a course that fulfills the First Year Writing Requirement.

What is the Transfer Directed Self-Placement (DSP) Process?
The Transfer DSP asks students to read an assignment from a subject area they plan to study as well as a sample of student writing produced in response to the assignment, write three short responses about these two selections, and answer eleven questions about their experiences as writers.

How long will the Transfer DSP take?
Students who have completed the Transfer DSP report that it takes about an hour to read the assignment and student response, write the paragraphs, and respond to the questions.

When should the Transfer DSP be completed?
Students should complete the Transfer DSP at least 5 business days before their Orientation date.

What are the goals of the Transfer DSP?

  • Convey to students the importance UM assigns to writing well
  • Give students first-hand exposure to the kind of writing expected at UM

How will the results of the Transfer DSP be used?

  • Information from the DSP will be used by advisors to help students select a writing course that will serve their needs best
  • Students will receive an email from the Sweetland Center for Writing inviting them to schedule an appointment to receive feedback on their Transfer DSP responses and advice on writing at U-M.

What happens to students who do not complete the Transfer Student DSP?

  • Students who do not complete the Transfer DSP before Orientation will miss the chance to assess their preparation for Upper Level Writing Requirement courses
  • Students who do not complete the Transfer DSP before Orientation will miss the chance to learn about the expectations of Upper-Level Writing Requirement Courses
  • Students who do not complete the Transfer DSP will not learn about all the resources available to support their writing at UM